I Advocate: A Few of Neal's Favorite Things...

I Advocate: A Few of Neal's Favorite Things...


...Reading to Kids
This is a great organization based in Los Angeles. On the website you're directed to an elementary school where you spend about 90 minutes reading to children and then asking their thoughts on the story. Many of the kids are not native speakers, so it's wonderful for their English comprehension. It also instills a love of reading and gives the kids' poor parents a little break. ReadingToKids.org  

Florence and the Machine X560 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

...Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine
I remember when Florence's first CD, Lungs, arrived at The Advocate's office in 2009. It was love at first listen. Her follow-up is equally moving and spiritual. "If Only for a Night" is the standout song; it's so powerful, you feel like you're in church (without the antigay dogma). FlorenceAndTheMachine.net 


...Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
This stuff is expensive (around $38) but worthwhile — my skin glows after I use it. The nice people at the Fresh store offer free samples, so just ask and you shall receive. Fresh.com 

Longwood Gardens X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

...Longwood Gardens
If you're ever near Philly or Jersey, you have to check this place out — it's over 1,000 acres of manicured walking paths, grand fountains, elaborate treehouses, and pristine arboretums in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. The gardens are an absolute respite from the wired world, and a complete change of pace for a city dweller like myself. William Penn bought the land for the gardens in 1700, but industrialist Pierre du Pont, long rumored to be gay, refurbished it in the early 20th-century. LongwoodGardens.org 


...World of Wonder blog
World of Wonder, the gay-owned production company run by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (Becoming Chaz, RuPaul's Drag Race), has a crazy blog curated by James St. James, the doyenne of queer nightlife. James, and other contributors like Stephen Saban, post whatever the hell they feel like — e.g. trippy sock commercials from the '60s, takedowns of Kim Kardsashian, male celebrities in revealing gym shorts. The only common thread is the hilarious commentary and awesomely skewed worldview throughout. WorldofWonder.net 

Amtrak Coast Starlight X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

...Amtrak Coast Starlight
I'm a train nerd; obsessed with subways, light-rails, and leisure trains like the Coast Starlight, which travels over 1,300 miles from L.A. to Seattle. For much of the ride in southern California the tracks run parallel to the beach — it's gorgeous, especially from the viewing car. Later, you'll fall asleep and wake up with sequoias flying by you. There's also wine tastings on board and surprisingly good food. amtrak.com  

This is one of my favorite gay novels. It's a man who's boyfriend simply disappears one day — he goes out for an errand and never comes back. The protagonist grows obsessed with finding him than starts losing his mind. It's written by the late author James Robert Baker in such a breathless, kinetic style that I finished the whole book in 36 hours. I love finding books that make your heart race — it feels like the first rush of love. amazon.com

Tags: World, World